Baby died asleep in mum’s bed

Baby died asleep in mum's bed
Baby died asleep in mum's bed

A seven-week-old baby died while sleeping in the same bed as his mother after she had been drinking and taking cocaine, a serious case review has revealed.

The baby, who can only be identified as Child A, died three days after a team of eight professionals and experts had met to discuss the mum’s case.

But they focused mainly on risks posed by a former abusive partner, and there was a “limited awareness” of the mother’s vulnerabilities and no concerns about the care of the child, states the review report.

Yet the mum had taken a overdose of opiates during her pregnancy, was known to have problems with anxiety and alcohol, and had lost her first baby to Sudden Infant Death syndrome in 2007.

An inquest heard Child A had been found with “no signs of life” while co-sleeping with his mum, who said she had been drinking at a friend’s house and used cocaine.

The baby was sleeping face down and there was a “smoky atmosphere” in the house.

Police decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the mum for criminal negligence.

The report, prepared by the MK Safeguarding Children Board, states: “Child A’s death cannot be directly attributed to any actions taken or not taken by his mother. However her lifestyle, her consumption of alcohol and her intention to use drugs are known risk factors for sudden unexpected death in infancy and are likely to have played a part.”

It adds: “No agency or professional could have prevented the death had they acted differently. Mother was given appropriate advice regarding co-sleeping and understood the added risks of drinking/drug use, of overheating, and of ‘roll over’ if sleeping with baby.”

The professionals involved with Child A’s mum included social workers, health visitors, council housing officers and domestic abuse service MK-ACT.

Police were also involved after Child A’s maternal grandmother had called them with concerns that her daughter was drunk and about to leave her house alone with the baby, then ten days old.

The episode was logged as a domestic event rather than a child protection incident.

Now the safeguarding board is recommending a clearer framework for all professionals working with vulnerable adults and children.

It is also seeking evidence from audits and reviews of practice that Milton Keynes has “confident, competent and well-supported front line professionals” to give the right support. The episode was logged as a domestic event rather than a child protection incident.

Now the safeguarding board is recommending a clearer framework for all professionals working with vulnerable adults and children.

It is also seeking evidence from audits and reviews of practice that Milton Keynes has “confident, competent and well-supported front line professionals” to give the right support.